The European Commission’s rapporteur on Turkey, Kati Piri, on Wednesday called for the EU to freeze its accession talks. Piri argued that political consequences were required to demonstrate the cost Ankara would bear if it continued its crackdown.
“The annual Turkey report of the European Commission reflects the dire situation and the serious backlash [against] the rule of law in the country,” Piri said in a statement.
“For the last three years, Turkey has been drifting away more and more from European values, such as the respect for human rights and media freedom,” the EU official reported. “While the heinous coup attempt on 15 July needs to be strongly condemned and its perpetrators brought to justice, we see that the state of emergency is being used to further suppress any critical voices.”
“Almost all critical media outlets have been closed and Turkey is, once again, the world’s top jailer of journalists; more than 100,000 people have been dismissed and 35,000 arrested without due process,” Piri continued. “Elected mayors [have been] replaced by appointed trustees and 10 members of parliament have been jailed for using their freedom of expression.”
Kati Pari said that while the EU wants to keep Turkey anchored to it, the government’s crackdowns and purges can’t be ignored. “Ankara is shutting the door to the European Union with its actions. In reaction, the EU must immediately freeze the accession talks until the Turkish government returns to the path of respect for the rule of law and human rights,” she said.
According to the European Commission’s last enlargement report, serious allegations of human rights violations and disproportionate use of force by the security forces were increasing in Tukey’s Kurdish-majority provinces.
“[There has been] a very serious deterioration in the security situation, leading to heavy casualties, following the collapse of the Kurdish settlement process in July 2015,” the European Commission declared.
The commission’s report said that Turkey had pursued an extensive campaign against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which remains on the EU list of terrorist organizations. Nevertheless, the EU says the conflict should be solved through a negotiated settlement.
“Many elected representatives and municipal executives in the southeast were suspended, removed from their duties or arrested under terrorism-related charges. Some of them on the basis of decrees under the state of emergency,” the European Commission reported.
Castigating Ankara for overreaching, the commission said that “anti-terror measures need to be proportionate and must respect human rights. The settlement of the Kurdish issue through a political process is the only way forward.”